Avian influenza detected in Muskegon County commercial poultry facility

US Bird Flu
Posted at 3:37 PM, May 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-12 15:37:30-04

MUSKEGON, Mich. — Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) has been detected in a commercial poultry facility in Muskegon County.

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) says this is the first time HPAI has been detected in a commercial poultry operation in the state.

In an effort to protect other flocks in Michigan, MDARD says the premises is now under quarantine and the birds have been depopulated to prevent disease spread.

HPAI is a highly contagious virus that can be spread in various ways from flock to flock, including by wild birds, through contact with infected poultry, by equipment, and on the clothing and shoes of caretakers.

It’s not clear which commercial poultry facility in Muskegon County HPAI was detected in.

Jennifer Holton with MDARD tells FOX 17 that a case had been confirmed in a Kalamazoo flock back in February. Since then, they have identified cases in 9 other Michigan counties.

“Before Michigan’s first detection of HPAI in backyard poultry in late February, MDARD has been preparing for all types of outbreak scenarios, including within a commercial setting, allowing the department to take swift action in partnership with the producer. The department has already identified a control area and surveillance zone to monitor for and prevent further spread of the virus,” said State Veterinarian Dr. Nora Wineland. “We will continue to ask every poultry owner, whether a backyard owner or commercial grower, to take preventative actions to help stop the spread of HPAI. It’s a team effort to defend the flocks in Michigan.”

On May 10, MDARD announced it would halt 2022 poultry and waterfowl exhibitions in Michigan to protect domestic flocks until the state goes 30 days without a new detection of high pathogenic avian influenza.

MDARD recommends taking the following steps to protect the health and vitality of Michigan’s domestic birds:

• Prevent contact between domestic and wild birds by bringing them indoors or ensuring their outdoor area is fully enclosed.
• Wash your hands before and after handling birds as well as when moving between different coops.
• Disinfecting boots and other gear when moving between coops.
• Do not share equipment or other supplies between coops or other farms.
• Cleaning and disinfecting equipment and other supplies between uses. If it cannot be disinfected, discard it.
• Using well or municipal water as drinking water for birds.
• Keep poultry feed secure to ensure there is no contact between the feed/feed ingredients and wild birds or rodents.

MDARD says domestic bird owners and caretakers should watch for unusual deaths, a drop in egg production, a significant decrease in water consumption, or an increase in sick birds. If avian influenza is suspected in domestic birds, contact MDARD immediately at 800-292-3939 (daytime) or 517-373-0440 (after-hours).

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